When faced with potentially dangerous situations, you can never take too many precautions. Even if you’re an experienced mountaineer, it’s wise to stop and refresh your memory once in a while. This is where the Avalanche Refresher Course in Crested Butte comes in. When you’re in an avalanche situation, it’s crucial to act fast and keep your wits. This course is designed to refresh and reinforce your know-how in high-pressure situations, as well as further develop your leadership and communication skills. The fact that it’s set in the scenic frontier town of Crested Butte is just the cherry on top. Make your way to the slopes of Crested Butte and become a safer, more confident mountain adventurer.

  • Head to the hills and conquer some hardcore slopes

  • Get lost in thousands of acres of idyllic winter landscapes

  • Explore a quaint mountain town rich with history


Review essential avalanche safety practices with this Avalanche Refresher Course in Crested Butte.The first step of this course is meeting the guide, who will evaluate your prior experience and help you determine your objectives. Whether you want to brush up on your avalanche safety knowledge, or you just wish to get up to date with modern safety precautions and techniques, the guide will set the objectives of the course accordingly. The guide will then take you to the mountain and help you accomplish any goals you set for yourself.

Meet your guide

Irwin Guides
Irwin Guides
Whether snow, ice, mountain, rock, trail or water, Irwin Guides is setting the standard in the world of adventure sports with local, knowledgeable, IFMGA/AMGA certified guides.
5.00 (3 reviews)
Nikki L. about Irwin Guides

I took the Level 1 Avalanche Course this past weekend and didn’t get to thank Scott and Ross. They both did such a great job. I’m sure it’s hard to be enthusiastic about teaching this stuff over and over again, but that certainly was not the case, and their interest and demeanor was much appreciated.

Sally K. about Irwin Guides

We had the BEST time! Not only is Amy nice, but her expertise on the river and safety instructions were excellent. My daughter (ICU nurse) and I (old ER nurse) really appreciated Amy’s “readiness” for possible problems. We are already planning next season’s adventure.

Skylar K. about Irwin Guides

Life Lessons from an Avalanche Education Course
Over the course of my three-day class, I was pleasantly surprised to learn some fundamental lessons that have become essential not only in my backcountry toolkit but also in life beyond avalanche terrain. (…) During the course, Chris would constantly remind us to slow down, monitor conditions, look for avalanche activity and reassess our plan along the way. (…)I thought about how lessons like this from the backcountry truly parallel life in a fascinating way. I’m already anticipating taking my Level 2 Rec avalanche education course not just for the mountaineering skills, but also for more life lessons I’ll pick up along the way.

Things to know

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Crested Butte, Colorado, please refer to the Official Colorado COVID-19 Update Website.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

  • What you get in this adventure:

      • A professional backcountry guide/AIARE qualified instructor
      • Knowledge of the areas/routes you’ll be visiting during the course
      • Rescue access, coordination, and response if necessary
      • A full day in the field

    What’s not included:

      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
      • Accommodation
      • Food and snacks
  • In order to get the most of this adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

    Students must be able to travel in the snow, and bring appropriate equipment for traveling on snow to class. Skiers must be able to hike for several hours at a time while carrying a small pack. All participants should be comfortable traveling in snow while carrying touring gear. Participants should also have some previous experience in backcountry skiing/riding, as well as some previous avalanche education.

  • For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

      • Touring set up (AT/tele skis & skins or a splitboard & skins, poles, and boots)
      • Backcountry ski pack (25 – 45 liters)
      • Basic avalanche safety gear (can be rented):
        • Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
        • Lightweight snow shovel
        • Avalanche probe

    For personal items, we recommend bringing:

      • Synthetic or wool under layers (no cotton!)
      • Synthetic or wool mid layers (fleece jacket, vest, soft shell jacket – no cotton!)
      • Down or synthetic puffy jacket
      • Weather proof jacket and pants
      • Gloves x 2 pairs (we suggest 1 pair for skinning/taking notes and one pair for skiing/riding)
      • Beanie x 2 (nice to have an extra)
      • Buff, neck gaiter or balaclava
      • Ball cap or visor (especially for sunny days)
      • Goggles
      • Sunglasses
      • Sunscreen & lip protection
      • Full water bottles (at least 1 liter), bladder systems discouraged
      • Thermos w/ hot beverage (tea, hot cocoa, coffee, etc.)
      • Plenty of snacks & lunch
      • Headlamp
      • Extra batteries for headlamp and beacon
      • Camera — optional, but highly recommended
      • Pocket-sized notebook for notes – optional, but highly recommended
      • Pen or pencil to take notes – optional, but highly recommended

    If you have any questions about what to pack for your day in the backcountry don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

    Gear rental locations are in Crested Butte and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

      • For this course, the max client to guide ratio is 6:1
      • Costs per person decrease as the group grows for private courses.

    Min. age requirements:

      • You must be at least 16 years old to participate.
  • The simplest way to reach Crested Butte is by taking a flight to the Denver International Airport. From there, you are a 4-5 hour drive away to Crested Butte, depending on the weather conditions. Renting a car is recommended.

    You will usually meet your guides at backcountry trailheads within 20 min of Crested Butte. You will be informed about the location via email in advance. Be aware that the location may be subject to change based on the weather or snow coverage conditions.

Have more questions? Read our FAQ,

Learning outcomes

This course has no set itinerary. It varies from session to session and is largely dependent on the skill level and individual goals of the participants. This means that the instructors will design custom sessions with custom objectives for each you and your group. These are some examples of the things the participants can learn about during the course:

    • Recent changes to L1/L2 content
    • Metamorphism and snow crystal review
    • Basic pit & field book review
    • Route selection
    • Stability assessment
    • Travel protocols
    • Practice rescue scenarios
From $350
/ 1 day
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